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Letting it All Out

Andrew Zimmern tells his addiction recovery story to Renew magazine.I’m always amazed when somebody in the public eye makes the decision to choose candor over keeping their guard up and tells a real story, “warts and all” as my dad used to say. Andrew Zimmern certainly did that and it made for one of the best reads I’ve seen in Renew so far.

It’s incredible to see that he was someone who really bottomed out—and in a way that a lot of us in the program recognize, but don’t often hear about from celebrities—and then humbled himself to start back at the beginning again and build up his career into something bigger than it ever was before.

It’s easy to find down-and-out stories in recovery. It’s a lot harder to find evidence of really tremendous comebacks. Thank Zimmern for us for sharing his.

-Mike B.

Renew on The O’Reilly Factor

Laurie Dhue and her Renew feature on the O'Reilly FactorI had some mixed feelings when Renew was mentioned on The O’Reilly Factor this evening (May 1, 2012). You see, I have a close, personal attachment to your magazine model. Years ago, my sister, who had been an active drug addict most of her adult life and was in recovery, came up with this same concept and asked me to join her in her endeavor as editor until she could get the magazine on its feet. The magazine Recover was launched on a shoestring—to say the least—but I wholeheartedly believed in the project and devoted considerable time and effort to its success, even though I was employed full-time as well. Unfortunately, my sister’s work ethic left a lot to be desired and, after much anguish, I realized that circumstance was not about to change. My sister’s primary failure related to the less than exciting work that marketing required. Nevertheless, I wish you and your team great success in your undertaking. This was and is a terrific idea. Almost everyone is addicted to something, and your magazine is a great opportunity to accomplish something that can make quite a difference.


I was watching Bill O’Reilly last night and saw the mention of your magazine and Laurie Dhue. I was once again struck by how often serendipity (God—if you like) plays a role in recovery. I recently completed 28 days at Caron’s new program in Florida called Ocean Drive and am currently an outpatient. Last week I was discussing my frustration with the anonymity of AA. I told my primary therapist that someone should really start a mainstream magazine and web-based community to bring addiction and recovery out of the shadows … and then I saw you on O’Reilly! I immediately subscribed and registered online. Congratulations on filling a much-needed niche.

—Michael M.

I applaud Laurie Dhue for having the courage to share her experience, strength and hope. As a recovering addict of five years, I, too, believe that anonymity is misconstrued. When we openly share, we show those still suffering that there is hope. If I can help one person with what I have experienced, then it’s worth exposing myself as the recovering addict that I am. We no longer need to hide in the dark; far too many have died, and we must do what we can for those who are looking for a solution.

—Linda S.

Blasts and Brain Scans

I found “This Is Your Brain on Recovery” by Claire Parins (March/April 2012) on SPECT brain scans in brain recovery of interest. [There] is data on our work with SPECT, rehabilitation and HBOT [Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy] in brain injury that confirms the information provided by Dr. Amen. In my opinion, an article on the probability that blast exposure causes the increased incidence of suicide in the military and vets would be of value.

- William S. Maxfield, MD

Controversy Indeed

I have been clean for nine years. I just subscribed to Renew magazine and have been pleasantly surprised with its content. This is the first time I am looking at recovery material that is not strictly from my Twelve Step program. Thank you for making such an open and welcoming magazine.

Your article “The Meds Controversy” (March/April 2012) states that, “And although some groups still hold anti-medication positions—most notably Narcotics Anonymous … ” However, a piece of NA literature “NA Groups and Medication” clearly contradicts this point. This pamphlet states, “By definition, drug replacement is used for a different reason than prescribed medications for mental or physical health. This distinction makes drug replacement a separate issue for us in NA. When it comes to those who participate in drug replacement, it is helpful to remember that our Third Tradition clearly states that membership in NA is established when someone has a desire to stop using or when they choose to become a member, not when they are clean. No matter what the issue, groups are still charged with the goal of welcoming each person who walks into a meeting.”

I would like to invite the author of this article and anyone else to read the rest of the pamphlet to understand that NA welcomes all those recovering from the disease of addiction.

— Jon F.

Tough on “Tough Relationships”

I received my first issue of Renew and found it to be all that was promised. Thank you! But I do have one suggestion. Your article “Tough Relationships” (November/December 2011) could have featured at least one gay or lesbian couple. Given the disproportionate toll that the use of alcohol and drugs take on the members of the GLBT community, it would have been good to see one of our success stories. Once again, many thanks.

- Carlton K.

During my recovery, I found myself in one bad relationship after another, each one almost bringing me to the brink of relapse. I was finally able to break myself of that habit and was glad to see Renew had touched upon the subject matter in “Tough Relationships.” I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your magazine and look forward to each new issue. Good luck.

- Cassie L.

Read "Are You in a Toxic Relationship" online here.

Spot On

I am a professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College Addiction Counseling training program in Minnesota. I think it is important for new counselors to have a wide variety of tools at hand in working with those in addiction. I appreciate the articles and information that you are putting in your magazine. As you may know, it is a tough road to convince people that recovery is a good place to be. I think it is helpful to have positive images of health and well-being that can be had in recovery. I think you do that well. I could see future counselors using articles from this magazine with their clients and having this as a resource for themselves.

- Gabriel E.

The January/February 2012 issue is so well done. Very classy. The art you picked is gorgeous and sets the tone for the centering prayer from the get-go (“Aftercare Spotlight”). You immediately want to quiet down.

- Kathleen L.

Outside Matters

I’m really enjoying Liz Scott’s column and hope you’ll continue it! She’s a wonderful reminder that living a full life is all about the details. Thanks to Liz and Renew!

- Denise M.


On the Other Side
I am sitting in the sun at a cafe at the Hastings train station waiting for a friend. I pulled out my Renew, read your story (“The Other Side,” September/October 2011) and just about burst into tears. A lot of us need to write a similar letter. Funny, I came across a letter I wrote to my dad in 1983 the other day. I wondered if I sent it and in what form. What I said was true, but I wished I had it back to edit. It was quite self-righteous. It was two years before I stopped drinking myself, and that was apparent, at least to me. You, on the other hand, have a beautiful letter to pass on to your own kids. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
- T.H.

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your touching article on your father (“The Other Side,” September/October 2011). Now that my son is back from rehab, reading your article again helps to give me an understanding and more compassion on genetic predisposition and the draw that is so different for some people than in others.

- Katie A.


minnesotaI loved the new Renew! I especially liked the overall look and the writing. The article on Minnesota’s different locales (September 2010) was especially good, and I  appreciated that it included where to find meetings. Kudos to all of you who made this happen.

-Jane, Minn.


Making a Difference

Renew magazine truly touches a nerve in me. Almost every person I come in contact with has a story about themselves, their families or acquaintances and how devastating substance abuse can be. Renew takes an optimistic yet realistic viewpoint on recovery and shows how deeply penetrating the disease of addiction is in everyone’s lives and how an iterative, step-by-step approach can help incrementally make a difference. I find the information fresh and informative and anxiously await your next issue! Keep up this work ... it is desperately required.

-Mike, Mass.

Quality of Life

The articles go beyond the trials and tribulations of addiction by offering articles of interest to the general population for increasing their quality of life: yoga, travel, exercise, diet, meditation, etc. I look forward to the next issue.

-Diane, Wis.

To Hell and Back

sheffThe article on David Sheff’s fight to save his son from addiction (“To Hell and Back”, September 2010) had me in tears! It could be my story—my daughter is now in treatment for an addiction to prescription medication, and our journey has followed a similar path to Sheff’s. It’s a autionary tale worth telling and one I plan to pass along to all my friends and family members with hildren. Thank you so much for reminding me that I’m not alone and that there is a light at the end of this tunnel!

-Susan, Penn.

I love your magazine and hope that by sharing experiences, it paves the way for someone else to heal and recover. It definitely affects the whole family. Your magazine led me to Beautiful Boy (“To Hell and Back,” September/ October 2010), which was so helpful. What a story!

— Katie A.

I just fell in love with your magazine after reading the article “To Hell and Back.” I am a 48-year-old widow, newly sober. I finally threw my hands in the air wanting a new way of life, so I got sober. I went to a program and worked with this program. I go to meetings, I go to church and I am very spiritual. I just contacted my family after about 10 years. Thank you again. Your magazine is awesome.

— Darla A. 

The Talk

talk300x185Here’s an item I’ve been avoiding on my “to do” list! I feel better prepared to approach my kids about their dad’s alcoholism after reading Claudia Black’s advice (“The Talk,” September 2010). Thank you, thank you!

-Renee, Calif.

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